Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Morticia Knight – Author Morticia Knight spends most of her nights writing about men loving men forever after. If there happens to be some friendly bondage or floggings involved, she doesn’t begrudge her characters whatever their filthy little hearts desire.
Morticia is giving away a backlist title to a lucky winner – for a chance to win, just comment on this post below.
Thanks so much, Morticia, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
Morticia Knight: I seriously began pursuing it when I was twelve. Sounds ridiculous, I know, yet true. I bought the Writer’s Market, subscribed to Writer’s Digest, practiced my query letters and wrote a Harriet the Spy sort of series. I sent the first one in to William Morrow (wait, gimme a sec, my sides are hurting from the laughter), and whaddya know. It wasn’t accepted! But… I need to point out what an idiot I am right about here. The form rejection letter contained a typewritten P.S. that said my writing was very good for someone my age and suggested I submit to their YA imprint. Ah, how things might have been different had I followed through! I was too crushed by the rejection (I was fourteen by then), so the manuscript and letter got shoved in a drawer and forgotten about.
JSC: Have you ever taken a trip to research a story? Tell me about it.
MK: I have. And have others I’d like to take as well! I had imagined a sci-fi/dystopian story (that is still half-finished) and I became sort of obsessed with it. I kept running it through my mind, realizing it would likely be trilogy, and picturing every last detail, the locations and so on. One location I’d imagined takes place in Portland and was so specific, I started having doubts about it. What if no such place, or even an area that I could insert a fictional place, exists in the city? As I Googled away, I was shocked to discover that such a place does exist. I made a weekend trip and visited all the locations in the story, including the Pittock Mansion. I was kind of freaked out by the experience, because although I’d never seen or heard of it before, with the exception of the front steps and the shape of the staircase inside, it was almost an exact replica of what I’d imagined. Even the layout of the grounds was identical!
JSC: How long do you write each day?
MK: I’m a rebel. I don’t write every day. *gasp* I can go a couple weeks without writing a word other than an outline or blurb. Research can also take the place of actual wordcount. But then I also tend to binge write when I do. Once I’m in the zone, I just keep going.
JSC: Do you reward yourself for writing, or punish yourself for failing to do so? How?
MK: I do. More punishment than rewards, though lol. A reward is getting to take a day off by going somewhere—the outdoor market, antique store or a nice restaurant or movie. The punishment is I don’t get to do those things. I don’t leave the house much.
JSC: What do you do if you get a brilliant idea at a bad time?
MK: I’m not above writing on my hand or telling people to shut up while I write something down. Okay, it’s more like ‘WAIT!’ than it is shut up. And yes, the shouty capitals were needed.
JSC: How long have you been writing?
MK: After the aforementioned rejection at fourteen, other than the random beginnings of stories that never went anywhere, my focus became the music industry and becoming a rock star (heh heh heh), which probably ties into the other question about basing a character on a real person. A lot of Aubrey in my current release are things I went through and my feelings about the industry. But anyway, once I began writing song lyrics, it really screwed me up. I couldn’t write anything without it rhyming. Once I quit music, I slowly worked my way back in by writing band bios and press releases, articles and reviews then eventually I worked with a rock journalist and guitarist on their memoirs. Hmm. I wonder where I got the story idea for Rocked Hard from? No idea. What was your question? Okay, I’ll quit being a smart-ass and say, hot damn, it’s going on twenty years since I got back into it again!
JSC: Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.
MK: With Rocked Hard, while it’s gotten much better in the past couple years, Bryan’s struggle with his bisexuality is a big part of the relationship dynamic he has with Aubrey. I also wanted to show Bryan’s dilemma when, once he becomes clear on his orientation and is ready to share it with those closest to him, he goes through so much frustration when everyone automatically assumes what he really means is that he’s gay. Two scenes in particular highlight him clarifying that he isn’t gay, that he’s bi.
JSC: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
MK: Full-time. It’s allowed me the opportunity to begin self-publishing. Before, I was so stressed and under constant publisher deadlines, I didn’t have the time or energy to do anything else. Now, I’m able to take control of my destiny! Sort of. But much more than I could before.
JSC: What is the most heartfelt thing a reader has said to you?
MK: In review it was ‘if you don’t like being happy, then don’t read this book’. I thought that was priceless.
JSC: Tell us something we don’t know about your heroes. What makes them tick?
MK: Aubrey and Bryan are both loners in their own way. Aubrey has been in a self-imposed exile for years, and before that, really only wanted to interact with people who ‘got’ him, but very few did, and none of them were lovers. With Bryan, I feel he’s a natural loner who probably doesn’t view himself that way at all. I believe it’s what’s always caused problems for him when it’s come to relationships. But when he meets Aubrey, there’s this inherent understanding where being together alone is what they’ve actually been searching for all along.
JSC: What were your goals and intentions in Rocked Hard, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
MK: To share, through my characters, a portion of what I went through in the music business. That was my whole world, my obsession, for twenty years. I needed to have a chronicle of it somewhere, but I’m way too boring by myself for it to have been a memoir. So, this became my emotional purge, my fictionalized version of my history. The height of Aubrey’s fame is when I was in the scene and his lyrics come from my own songs. I’m at peace with the result.
JSC: What secondary character would you like to explore more? Tell me about him or her.
MK: A reader has requested Rudy the tour manager’s story, but I’m more drawn to Jimmy, the bassist. He’s so unlike the typical rock musician, doesn’t seek the spotlight, loves Aubrey and only wants the best for him and is happy for him to get all the adoration. And Jimmy is very lonely. I’d love for him to find someone.
JSC: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
MK: A ballerina, ice skater, veterinarian, detective, writer then rock star. I was a very confused child.
JSC: What pets are currently on your keyboard, and what are their names? Pictures?
MK: Gizmo. He’s a Chiweenie (half chihuahua, half dachshund).
JSC: What was the first book that made you cry?
MK: Nancy Drew’s The Clue of the Tapping Heels. Or was it the one with the clock? I can’t remember.
JSC: What do you like to read in your free time?
MK: The ‘New on Prime’ listings.
JSC: If you could create a new holiday, what would it be?
MK: Leave Me Alone Day. Or, it could be Leave Me Alone Month, which would be even better.
And now for Morticia’s new book: Rocked Hard:
Can the touch of a rock god last forever?
Legendary alt rock singer, Aubrey King, is making a comeback after many years out of the spotlight. Rumors of his sexuality have always dogged him, and while he’s never come out publicly, his reasons for leaving the industry had nothing to do with his fear of discovery. What matters to him is the music. That’s his truth, and so far, his only real love. He aches to find someone to share his life with, but his propensity to fall fast and hard—along with chasing men he knows can never be his—has left him all alone.
Rock journalist Bryan Gallagher was first turned on to rock music at the age of twelve when he became obsessed with Aubrey’s band, Falling in Stereo. His friends, and even girlfriends, would sometimes tease him that he was hot for Aubrey. But it was all about the music and nothing else—at least that’s what he’s always told himself. When he’s approached about helping Aubrey write his memoir, it’s not only a dream assignment, but an exciting opportunity to work closely with his idol.
When Bryan meets Aubrey, the electric heat between them is unnerving. He’s further confused by how intense Aubrey’s attraction toward him is and how deeply they connect over their shared obsession of music. While Bryan struggles with uncertainty regarding his own sexuality, he also has to navigate through the perils of working with a lover and keeping their relationship a secret.
But Bryan’s biggest struggle of all might be determining whether declarations of true love from a rock star can ever be trusted.
“Aubrey? Would it be possible to interview your mom before I head back to New York? If not, we can save it for when I return.” He chuckled. “I guess I’m in the ‘Aubrey as a kid’ mode right now.”
At Aubrey’s silence, Bryan turned to him, surprised at how rigid his posture had become, how he no longer loosely held the steering wheel or relaxed in the bucket seat.
Aubrey huffed. “Must we?”
Oh boy. Bryan rubbed his chin, searching for the best way to convey what he hoped wouldn’t be a contract-breaking discussion. Of course, he’d had plenty of delicate conversations with moody rock musicians in the past, so he had a lot of skills in that area. Even though it didn’t sit right with him to lump Aubrey in the same category, he couldn’t lie to himself either, couldn’t hold Aubrey up on a higher pedestal, even if he was tempted to do so.
“Not today, no. But eventually, when you’re ready.”
Aubrey curled his fingers around the wheel, his knuckles turning white. “And if I’m never ready?”
“Well, that’s going to make my job impossible.” Bryan angled his body toward Aubrey. “Listen, there’ll be a lot of uncomfortable moments during this process, even excruciating and painful ones. Anytime you need a break, let me know and I can work on other projects until you’re ready to pick things up again. And remember, anything, anythingI write about doesn’t go in the book without your approval, no matter what. That’s all in the contract, along with the non-disclosure I signed.” Bryan couldn’t help but reach out to Aubrey, to somehow convey his support. He laid a careful hand on Aubrey’s arm. “I’ll never do anything to hurt you, not purposely. Do you believe me?”
Bryan gave his arm a quick squeeze before letting go. Aubrey remained silent and he wasn’t sure if he should keep quiet or to keep trying to break through to him. Aubrey gave a small nod.
“I do, Bry. I already told you I trust you, believe in you.” Aubrey pulled his eyebrows together before continuing, “But what if she says something that makes you stop liking me?”
Aubrey’s words hit him like a punch in the gut. Instead of reacting as a writer working with a difficult subject, he instead had the urge to pull Aubrey into his arms and comfort him. Thank God we’re in the damn car.
Mindful to keep his tone gentle, Bryan prodded some more. “Why would you think such a thing?”
Aubrey shrugged. “I dunno. Sometimes I feel like she hates me. Like, maybe if I wasn’t so gay or so private, then she could enjoy the spoils of my fame more. I bought her a nice place, pay her bills, but she’s more interested in hanging out with the ‘in’ crowd, whoever the fuck they are in her estimation.” A sneer had curled Aubrey’s lip. “She… I don’t mind taking care of her, I’d always planned to once things started going well since we had such a rough time of it when I was growing up—I just hate how she felt she had to force me into it.”
Bryan already didn’t care too much for Aubrey’s mother. “How did she force you?”
Aubrey glanced his way, a wry smile tugging at one side of his mouth. “Guess.”
Bryan let out a sigh, the ramifications of the closeted life something he’d never dealt with personally, but becoming clearer to him the more he was around Aubrey. “Your own mother blackmailedyou?”
“Well… not explicitly. But she’s a great hinter.” He snorted. “Every time she wants a new car or vacation, she talks about so and so’s career who was adversely affected by the revelation they were gay or the tabloids following them around non-stop because of it. Then she’ll say, it’s a damn good thing no one knows I’mgay.” He rolled his eyes. “We don’t hang out much.”
“Wow.” Bryan couldn’t imagine. “Yeah, we’ll save thatinterview for down the line.”
Aubrey pursed his lips. “Can we save it for never?”
Bryan wished he could take Aubrey’s fears away, wished he had the ability to make him feel safer somehow. “She can’t say anything to make me stop liking you, I swear.”
He’d managed to pull a smile from Aubrey. “Yeah? Well, I’m sure no one could make me stop liking you either, Bry.”
They remained silent as the traffic cleared after the interchange and the car picked up speed again. Aubrey appeared more relaxed as they crossed the hill into Hollywood, Bryan realizing they hadn’t made any plans for the day beyond the excursion to the Valley. He picked at his jeans, unsettled in his own skin as he admitted to himself he didn’t want the day to be over yet, didn’t want to go back to the hotel. Or leave Aubrey for the night.
Bryan rubbed at his forehead, his stomach fluttering, heart pounding as he remembered what had happened after Aubrey had dropped him off the night before. Unable to sleep, he’d given in and rubbed one out while remembering Aubrey’s kiss, how it had felt when Aubrey had pulled him close, his unique scent and taste unlike anything Bryan had experienced.
But he didn’t fucking wantto. He wanted Aubrey’s tongue plundering his mouth, claiming him with a simple kiss, Aubrey’s hands exploring his body, touching, caressing, making him ache and need in a way he hadn’t known was possible.
“Bry? If you’re not too tired, I have another track I’d like you to hear.” Aubrey had gone back to gripping the steering wheel. “Unless you’d rather wait until rehearsal.” He cleared his throat. “When other people are around.”
Bryan’s heart jackhammered. You should say no. “No, I’d love to.” Not exactly the no I meant. He wiped the sweat off his upper lip. Liar.
Author Morticia Knight spends most of her nights writing about men loving men forever after. If there happens to be some friendly bondage or floggings involved, she doesn’t begrudge her characters whatever their filthy little hearts desire. Even though she’s been crafting her naughty tales for more years than she’d like to share—her adventures as a published author began in 2011. Since then, she’s been fortunate enough to have several books on bestseller lists along with titles receiving recognition in the Rainbow Book Awards, Divine Magazine and Love Romance Café.
Once upon a time she was the lead singer inan indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She currently resides on the North Oregon coast and when she’s not fantasizing about hot men, she takes walks along the ocean and annoys the local Karaoke bar patrons.
Morticia’s Social links:
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2q2I2Do
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/authormorticiaknight/